Girl takes to the slopes to hone her craft

McLennan’s Nora Dubrule had qualified for Arctic Winter Games in snowboarding

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

A McLennan area girl has lost her chance to compete at the Arctic Winter Games in a sport not too many dare take on the challenge for.

Nora Dubrule, 11, qualified for Team Alberta North in snowboarding. The Arctic Winter Games were scheduled for March 16-19 in Whitehorse, YT but cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dubrule has spent many weekends all winter practicing at the Smoky River Ski Hill honing her craft. She became interested in the sport at the tender age of seven.

“Our family gets to go the ski hill often,” she says, adding her parents both teach snow boarding.

One look at others snowboarding hooked her.

“I said, ‘I want to go snowboarding,’” she says.

The danger of speeding down a hill might deter others but the spunky child had no fear and quickly grew to love the sport.

“It took me a couple days to learn,” she says.

Although Dubrule has quickly reached the upper echelon in her sport locally, the thrill of competition is not the reason she continues to hone her craft.

“It’s just fun and it keeps me busy in winter,” she says.

She also dabbles in basketball, volleyball, and is a two-year member of the Smoky River Manatees Swim Club – her third year fast approaching. She is a very active child.

In Whitehorse, Du- brule was scheduled compete in four events: boardercross [a race], banked slalom [a race] and slopestyle and half-pipe, which are both judged on a points system. Of those, boardercross is her favourite.

“I just like the way the boardercross track is made,” she says.

If you haven’t watched competitive snowboard- ing on TV or experienced in first-hand, it’s similar to the men and women who race down a prepared course on ice skates. Lots of bumps and curves to navigate and test one’s skills!

“One time I was at full speed and I hit a tree,” she laughs.

Thankfully, no injury occurred.

The snowboarding competition at the Arctic Winter Games was to consist of four events: banked slalom, slope- style, boardercross, and half-pipe, as well as combined individual ranking, making a combined total of 20 gold ulus to be awarded in four age/sex classes: junior and juvenile, male and female. A team consists of two athletes in each age/sex class, and two coaches. Teams that regularly participate in snow- boarding include Alaska, Yukon, Alberta North, Northwest Territories and Greenland.

Dubrule was preparing for the event by practicing locally and at Sunbrook in Edmonton. She says she just keeps working on her skills by practicing on ski runs at Little Smoky.

Dubrule qualified at trials at Nitehawk Ski Hail in Grande Prairie Jan. 19.

Dubrule was scheduled to compete in the Under 14 category. At age 11, she was likely to be one of the youngest athletes at the Games in her sport.

Dubrule had placed no expectations for herself at the Games.

“I just want to go there and have fun,” she says. “And trade pins. Pin trading is the big thing!”

Any medal, she adds, would have been a bonus.

Her mother, Krystina, had high expectations, however.

“She’s strong. She could do extremely well, I think she could win four medals.”

Sadly, COVID-19 put an end to that!

Nora Dubrule is the daughter of Daniel and Krystina Dubrule of McLennan and is a Grade 6 student at Falher Routhier School.

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